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Resilient amputee wants to represent Pakistan at 2018 Winter Paralympics

February 23, 2017

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Insha Afsar lost a leg in the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.— Photo courtesy: NASTAR
Insha Afsar lost a leg in the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.— Photo courtesy: NASTAR

A Pakistani amputee skier who lost a leg in the devastating earthquake of October 8, 2005 has her eyes on the 2018 Winter Paralympics, where she hopes to represent her native country.

Insha Afsar, who suffered the tragedy when her house came down on the tragic day, has pursued her passion for skiing after moving to the US.

She competed in a ski race in the US Paralympic Alpine National Championships in 2015 and now hopes to become Pakistan's first ski racer at the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea, Gulf News reported.

“I’m a person that likes going fast, doing everything fast. I just like speed,” Afsar said.

“It’s not common for women to be athletes [in Pakistan]. Now I’m doing a sport that I love. That might inspire people despite everything that’s holding them back.”

The 17-year-old spoke of her family's reaction to her pursuing her dream of ski racing.

“For my family, it’s kind of shocking because they don’t understand what [skiing] is in a way,” she told Gulf News. “We don’t have skiing in Pakistan so it’s hard for them to process the idea.”

Afsar came into the limelight in a photo essay published in TIME magazine in 2007. The stark photograph of a girl in a red coat struck a chord with TIME readers and staffers.

One of the TIME editors flew Afsar to the US where she was fitted with a prosthetic leg.

She now attends Berkshire Academy in Massachusetts and is sponsored by the Loon-based New England Disabled Sports (NEDS).

Insha Afsar pictured in the April 17, 2006 issue of TIME magazine (Photo by Yuri Kozyrev).
Insha Afsar pictured in the April 17, 2006 issue of TIME magazine (Photo by Yuri Kozyrev).